Perhaps it’s the weather, but I’ve been in a "fern-y" phase this summer. I’ve always enjoyed ferns, but this year I have grown more interested in them. I’m surprised by the poor quality of the fern identification guides I’ve encountered, though all are obviously written by people who know much more about ferns than I do. One guide has great information but poor illustrations, which makes IDing the little emerald gems difficult. Another writes endlessly about fern spores and has only drawings of ferns, which is no help at all.
I have this niggling idea that a really good fern guide should be written for everyday enthusiasts like me and not just for the fern geeks of academia. Good photos, good range maps, interesting information—is that really too much to ask? But as usual, I digress.
What I wanted to show you this morning is one stretch of the woods on Roundtop where I’ve been finding some of the ferns. This photo was taken in an area slightly more open than average. You can see how lush and green the forest is right now. The lushness is not typical for mid-August. To my eye, this photo looks more like one I’d expect to learn was taken in mid-June.
The little two-track road leads down to the bottom of the mountain, though I took this shot about midway down, still some distance from the valley floor with its rocky stream and moist loam. Here, the forest is typically more sandy or at least better drained than down below, though I'm not sure you'd guess that from this appearance. Usually, this section of forest looks much drier in mid-August than it does today.
This summer has been especially rainy and cooler than average, which has likely made the ferns pretty happy and probably also accounts for their current abundance. It hasn’t hurt my feelings, either.